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Yamuna
Yamuna
is a sacred river in Hinduism
Hinduism
and the main tributary of the Goddess Ganga (Ganges), the holiest river of Hinduism. The river is worshipped as a Hindu goddess called Yamuna.[1] In the Vedas, Yamuna is known as Yami, while in later literature, she is called Kalindi. In the Vedas, Yami is associated with her twin brother and partner Yama, the god of death. Later, she is associated with the god Krishna as one of Ashtabharya,[2] his consort as well and plays an important role in his early life as a river. Bathing and drinking Yamuna's waters is regarded to remove sin.

Contents

1 Iconography 2 Family and names 3 Vedic association with Yama 4 Puranic association with Krishna 5 Religious significance 6 References 7 Bibliography

Iconography[edit] Yamuna's iconographic depiction is seen on temple doorjambs, along with that of Ganga
Ganga
(the goddess of the Ganges), since the Gupta era.[1] The Agni Purana
Agni Purana
describes Yamuna's iconography. She is depicted as black in complexion and stands on her mount, the tortoise, holding a water pot in her hand.[3] In an ancient painting she is shown as a beautiful maiden standing on the banks of the river.[1] Family and names[edit] Yamuna
Yamuna
is described as the daughter of the sun god Surya
Surya
(though some say that she was the daughter of Brahma) and his wife Saranyu
Saranyu
(Sanjna in later literature), the goddess of the clouds, and the twin sister of Yama, the god of death. Her other brothers include Vaivasvata Manu, the first man and the twin Ashvins, divine doctors.[4][1] and the planet Saturn (Shani).She is described as Surya's favourite child.[5] As the daughter of Surya, she is also called as Suryatanaya, Suryaja and Ravinandini.[1] As a companion of Yama, Yamuna
Yamuna
is often called Yami in the Vedas. Yama/Yami probably originates the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word meaning twins of both sexes.[6] In later literature, she is known as Yamuna
Yamuna
and Kalindi ("the dark one").[4] A tale explains her name Yamuna: Sanjna was unable to bear her husband, the sun's heat and light and closed her eyes in his presence. Surya
Surya
felt insulted and said that their son will be known as Yama ("restraint"), due to the restraint she showed. Thereafter, Sanjna tried her best to keep her eyes open, however she flickered them angering Surya
Surya
again who proclaimed that her daughter would be Yamuna. Since Sanjna had tried to keep the eyes open, Yamuna
Yamuna
was blessed that she would worshipped as a goddess and remembered throughout time.[7]

Krishna
Krishna
defeats Kaliya, dwelling in the Yamuna.

The name Kalindi may be derived from her association with Yama, the Lord of death and darkness as Kala.[4] Another source suggests that she derives the name Kalindi from her "earthly" source, the mountain Kalinda.[8] Some legends also explain Yamuna's darkness and thus her name Kalindi. The Vamana Purana
Vamana Purana
narrates the tale how the originally clear waters turned black. Distraught by the death of his wife Sati, Shiva
Shiva
wandered the whole universe. The god of love Kamadeva
Kamadeva
shot Shiva with the arrow Unmadastra, that made Shiva
Shiva
restless and excited. Ever thinking of Sati, an excited Shiva
Shiva
jumped into Yamuna
Yamuna
to overcome the sexual urge in his mad frenzy, turning her waters into black by his sorrow and unfulfilled desire.[3] Another legend describes that Krishna
Krishna
defeated and banished the serpent Kaliya
Kaliya
in the Yamuna. While the dark serpent entered the waters, the river became dark.[5] Vedic association with Yama[edit] Yami was the first woman, along with her twin brother, Yama
Yama
in Vedic beliefs.[9] Yama
Yama
and Yami are a divine pair of creator deities.[10] While Yama
Yama
is depicted as the Lord of Death, Yami is said to be the Lady of life.[11] Yami also addresses a hymn to Yama
Yama
in the Rig Veda, describing various drinks offered to dying sacrificers in the after-life. The Brahmana text Taittiriya Samhita
Taittiriya Samhita
says that Yama
Yama
is Agni
Agni
(fire) and Yami is the earth. Yami is thus further described as an association with the earth, relating her to the goddess of graveyards and sorrow, Nirriti, another partner of Yama
Yama
in the Vedas.[12] In the Brahmanas; however retains the central role of being Yama's twin sister in the Samhita texts. In the Purushamedha rite in the Shatapatha Brahmana, a mother of twins is sacrificed to Yami, while twins are offered in the Taittiriya Brahmana.[13] The Brahmana
Brahmana
text Maitrayani Samhita narrates: As the partner of Yama, Yami grieved instantly the death of Yama, the first mortal to die. As there was continuously daytime at the start of creation, Yami was unable to understand the lapse of time since Yama's death. The gods created night separating two days so that Yami understood that time was passing and slowly recovered from her sorrow.[5][12] The concept of the pair of twins with The festival of Bhau-beej, celebrated by a brother and a sister, honours the divine siblings. A prayer recited by the sister to her brother requests him to enjoy her offerings of food and eat them to please Yama
Yama
and Yamuna.[4]

deviyamuna statue in Amirthakadeswarar Temple, Sakkottai

Puranic association with Krishna[edit] The river is called Yamuna
Yamuna
and the goddess generally Kalindi in sources related to Krishna. She is also, according to some sources, a form of Nila Devi.

Krishna
Krishna
being carried over Yamuna
Yamuna
by Vasudeva
Vasudeva
just after his birth.

In an myth related to Krishna's birth, Krishna's father Vasudeva
Vasudeva
was carrying the new-born Krishna
Krishna
to safety was crossing the Yamuna
Yamuna
River, he asked Yamuna
Yamuna
to make a way for him to cross the river, which she did by creating a passage. This was the first time that she saw Krishna
Krishna
whom she marries in later life.[14] Yamuna
Yamuna
wanted to touch the feet of the baby which she did at deeper depths of the river and as a result the river became very calm.[15] Krishna
Krishna
also spent most of youth in Vrindavan
Vrindavan
on the banks of Yamuna, playing the flute and playing with his lover Radha
Radha
and the gopis on the banks.[4] It is said that Kalindi fell in love with Him as she saw His Eternal love with Radha. The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
narrates: Once, an adult Krishna
Krishna
visited his cousins – the five Pandava
Pandava
brothers with their common wife Draupadi and their mother Kunti
Kunti
in their capital Indraprastha
Indraprastha
(modern-day Delhi), located on the banks of the Yamuna. The eldest Pandava Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
requests Krishna
Krishna
to stay with them for a couple of days. One day, Krishna
Krishna
and the middle Pandava
Pandava
Arjuna
Arjuna
go for hunting in the forest. During their hunting, Arjuna
Arjuna
was tired. He and Krishna
Krishna
went to the Yamuna
Yamuna
and bathed and drank the clear water. There, a lovely girl was strolling along the river bank. Krishna
Krishna
who saw her and asked Arjuna
Arjuna
to meet her to know who she was. When Arjuna
Arjuna
inquired, the girl told him that she was Kalindi, the daughter of Surya, and that she was living in a house constructed by her father in the river where she has been was performing austerities with intent to have Vishnu
Vishnu
as her husband and would remain there, until she finds him. Arjuna
Arjuna
conveys Kalindi's message to Krishna, the avatar of Vishnu, who readily agreed to marry the beautiful damsel. Then they traveled to Indraprastha
Indraprastha
with Kalindi in the chariot and met Yudhishthira. After a stay of few days there, Krishna
Krishna
and Kalindi returned to his capital Dwarka
Dwarka
with their entourage and duly married each other.[14][16][17] According to Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
she had ten sons: Shruta, Kavi, Vrsa, Vira, Subahu, Bhadra, Santi, Darsa, Purnamasa and the youngest, Somaka.[18] The Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana mentions that she had many sons headed by Shruta.[19] The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
also narrates: Krishna's elder brother Balarama was staying in Ambadi on Yamuna's banks for a few months. Once, he was frolicking with the gopis on the river banks and desired to play in the waters. Intoxicated with liquor and experiencing heat of the alcohol, Balarama
Balarama
felt to take a bath in the river. However, he refused to walk to the waters and called upon the river to come near him, but the chaste Yamuna
Yamuna
refused despite repeated orders from Balarama. An angry Balarama
Balarama
dragged the river by his weapon – the plough and changed its course, hurting the river goddess. Terrified, the river assumed her form as a goddess and bowed to Balarama
Balarama
and asked his forgiveness. A calmed Balarama
Balarama
ordered the river to flood the forest so he could bathe and play in her waters, and the river complied.[8][20] Religious significance[edit]

A temple dedicated to Yamuna
Yamuna
at Yamunotri
Yamunotri
on the banks of the river Yamuna

Yamuna
Yamuna
is one of the holiest rivers in Hinduism. Yamuna
Yamuna
is only second to the Ganges
Ganges
(Ganga), the holiest river in Hinduism.[4] Her confluence with the Ganges
Ganges
and the mythical Sarasvati rivers, Triveni Sangam, is very holy pilgrimage spot.[8] Other pilgrimage sites along the river banks include Yamuna's source Yamunotri, Mathura
Mathura
and Bateshvar.[21] The Mahabharata
Mahabharata
mentions Yamuna
Yamuna
being one of the 7 tributaries of the Ganges. Drinking its waters is described to absolve sin. The river is mentioned many times in the epic as backdrop for events like yajnas (sacrifices), austerities and even a suicide by a defeated minister Hamsa of Jarasandha.[8] Various Puranas
Puranas
narrate the greatness of bathing in the Yamuna. The Padma Purana
Padma Purana
narrates the story of two brothers, who lived a life of indulgence and lust and gave up the virtuous ways. They finally plunged in poverty and resorted to robbery and were killed by beasts in the forest. Both of them reached Yama's court for judgement. While the elder brother was sentenced to Naraka (hell), the younger was granted Svarga (heaven). Astonished, the younger brother asked the reason for it, as both lived similar lives. Yama
Yama
explained that the younger brother had lived in the ashram of a sage on Yamuna's banks and bathed in the sacred river for two months. The first month absolved him of sins and the second one granted him place in heaven.[3] References[edit]

^ a b c d e Dalal 2010, p. 398. ^ Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: a Comprehensive Dictionary with Special
Special
Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8426-0822-0.  ^ a b c Mani p. 894 ^ a b c d e f Bhattacharji 1998, p. 9. ^ a b c Bhattacharji 1998, p. 11. ^ Bhattacharji 1970, p. 108. ^ Bhattacharji 1998, pp. 9–10. ^ a b c d Mani p. 375 ^ O'Flaherty 1980, p. 28. ^ Bhattacharji 1970, p. 177. ^ Conway 1994, p. 64. ^ a b Bhattacharji 1970, p. 96. ^ Bhattacharji 1970, p. 98. ^ a b Veena Shekar. "The'Ashta Bharyas' of Krishna". Chitralakshana.com.  ^ Sri Swami Vishwananda (February 2012). Just Love 3. BoD – Books on Demand. pp. 409–. ISBN 978-3-940381-22-4.  ^ "Five Ques married by Krishna". Krishnabook.com. Retrieved 25 January 2013.  ^ Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10 Chapter 58. Vedabase.net. Retrieved on 2013-05-02. ^ "The Genealogical Table of the Family of Krishna". Krsnabook.com. Retrieved 5 February 2013.  ^ Horace Hayman Wilson (1870). The Vishńu Puráńa: a system of Hindu mythology and tradition. Trübner. pp. 81–3, 107–8. Retrieved 21 February 2013.  ^ Bhattacharji 1998, pp. 10–11. ^ Dalal 2010, p. 399.

Bibliography[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yamuna
Yamuna
Devi.

Bhattacharji, Sukumari (1970), The Indian Theogony: A Comparative Study of Indian Mythology from the Vedas
Vedas
to the Purānas, CUP Archive, GGKEY:0GBP50CQXWN  Bhattacharji, Sukumari (1998), Legends Of Devi, Orient Blackswan, ISBN 978-81-250-1438-6  Conway, D. J. (1994), Maiden, Mother, Crone: The Myth and Reality of the Triple Goddess, Llewellyn Worldwide, ISBN 978-0-87542-171-1  Dalal, Roshen (2010), The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths, Penguin Books India, ISBN 978-0-14-341517-6  Mani, Vettam (1975), Puranic Encyclopaedia: a Comprehensive Dictionary with Special
Special
Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 978-0-8426-0822-0  O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger (1980), The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-04098-4  Ushanas, Egbert Richter (1997), The Indus Script and the Ṛg-Veda, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 978-81-208-1405-9 

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